A batch of Chef Voula's delicious and chewy cereal bars can be whipped up easily and they freeze really well. Loaded with fantastic ingredients and costing a fraction of store bought cereal bars, these tasty treats save the day.
The house will smell so great when you take these out of the oven, but resist cutting them too soon or they will crumble.
Rather have granola as a topper for your yogurt? No problem! See below for how to instantly turn this recipe into delicious home-made crumbly granola.
Makes 24 square bars
4 large egg whites
1 (250 mL) cup maple syrup or honey
1/3 (75 mL) cup coconut oil or vegetable oil
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
1 ½ (375 mL) cups of your favourite whole grain or sprouted grain cereal
1 ½ (375 mL) cups rolled oats
1 cup (250 mL) finely chopped dried apple, cherries, cranberries, blueberries, apricots, or a mix
1 cup (250 mL) sliced almonds or unsalted sunflower seeds
½ cup (125 mL) sesame seeds
1 tbsp (15mL) orange zest
½ tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
Preheat oven to 325F (160C). In a large bowl whisk together the egg whites until fluffy. Stir in the maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla until well combined.
Add the cereal, oats, finely chopped dried fruit, sliced almonds, sesame seeds, orange zest, cinnamon and salt into the bowl with the egg white mixture. Stir until dry ingredients are evenly coated with wet ingredients.
Lightly spray a 9x13 in (3L) baking pan then add mixture into pan and evenly spread out. Using the back of a wooden spoon or a spatula, press the granola into the pan firmly. Bake in preheated for 30 to 35 minutes, or until lightly golden on the edges. Cool down completely in pan for 2 hours. Carefully turn out onto a cutting board and using a sharp knife, cut in to 24 square bars.
Individually wrapped bars freeze really well. Or place cut bars onto a cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze overnight. Remove from cookie sheet and store them in a sealed bag or plastic container, in the freezer, until ready to use. Freeze for up to 2 weeks. Pop a frozen bar into your lunch box and it'll be ready for you to enjoy by mid-morning snack time.
To make granola:
Remove pan from oven and cool until it is comfortable to the touch. Using your hands, crumble granola. For a crunchier granola, return to oven set at 325F (160C) for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep granola from burning around the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 2 hours, stirring once or twice to ensure even crispness. Store in a container on the counter for 1 week or in the fridge for 3 weeks. Granola freezes well for up to 3 months.
You can substitute all sorts of ingredients in this recipe so experiment with your own combinations, using whatever you have handy in the kitchen. I've substituted the almonds with sunflower seeds, chopped pecans, and once even used pine nuts.
Same goes for the chopped dried fruit--any will do, or any combination. Even chopped dates have been a great substitute.
If you don't have an orange but have lemon or lime at home, they both work to add that bit of fresh zesty-ness to the cereal bar.